I find comfort in a good private eye novel even though they are supposed to be relics of the past. Over the last couple of years, I’ve lost my taste for the police procedural as I tired of the cop heroes violating the shit out of people’s rights – these books have lost glamour. But private eyes, they usually start out investigating a case for money, but they all seem to have a code that makes them have to finish the case even if they aren’t getting paid. Justice is a beautiful thing.
The protagonist of Wiebe’s series is Dave Wakeland whose specialty is finding people. In the opening chapter of Cut You Down; Wakeland is hired to find Tabitha Sorenson, a college student who has vanished from school, family and friends. While Wakeland and his sister begin tracking down the missing person, Sonia, Wakeland’s ex-girlfriend, asks him to follow her partner – she is a uniformed police officer in Vancouver. Oh, and Wakeland’s business partner, Jeff Chen, is getting married. There’s a lot going on here in the first few chapters, too much, and it’s a stuttering start for Cut You Down, but Wiebe quickly gets ahold of the situation and by Chapter 5, the book is running on all cylinders. If this is your first time reading Wiebe
One of the powers of Wakeland series is Wiebe’s ability to create a mystery that is more realistic than complicated. You won’t find any psychological thriller twists or Agatha Christie whodunits here. Wiebe has the various plots run in the background, interesting but not the end-all of the story.
The star of Cut You Down and Invisible Dogs is the protagonist Dave Wakeland. Besides having the best first name, Wakeland has his flaws but they are not overly dramatic foibles, they are problems many of us have. Still relatively young, Wakeland is navigating the journey into manhood and what that means to him. In my review of Invisible Dogs, I wrote that Wakeland “functions more as a human being rather than some fictionalized fighting machine”. Wakeland’s humanity is the driving force in Cut You Down making this one of the better private eye series around.